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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: A Return to Happiness
By Nancy Quinn


She reached up to rub her temples again. The headache had begun to throb and she knew she had at least two more hours of work. The papers were spread out and formed small mountains on the desk and the disarray of it all matched her jumbled thoughts. Maybe a cup of coffee would help. The pot was half full and cold. Most employees had gone home and the dimmed lights and distant sounds of vacuuming gave her an eerie feeling. As she struggled with getting the microwave to release her coffee, her cell phone rang. “Mom, when are you coming home?” asked seven-year old Sarah. “Soon, honey. I’ll be home to tuck you into bed. Don’t forget to brush your teeth. I love you.” The “I love you too” cut through her heart. But she reminded herself she was doing the right thing. This new job was a big promotion for her and she had to prove herself. She took a moment to straighten her desk and refresh her thoughts and then focused on getting her notes into a report that made sense.

The house was dark when she pulled into the driveway. She found the path by the moonlight and quietly unlocked the door. She silently trudged up the stairs, totally exhausted. She could hear her husband’s snores as she walked by their bedroom, and went straight to her daughter’s room. Sitting on the edge of Sarah’s bed, she stroked her daughter’s blonde curls and watched her sleep. Glancing down, she noticed the small stack of books lying on the floor. How long would this go on, she wondered? She had begun leaving early in the morning before Sarah was even dressed for school three months ago to prove herself in the new circle of this corporate world. She noticed the sadness in Sarah’s sleepy eyes as she kissed her goodbye each morning. Her husband’s quietness bothered her, but she kept reminding herself that the money was important for their future so they could have everything they needed.

The day was a bad one, and she felt disillusioned. She opened the door to her office after a meeting and hated seeing her name and title reflecting the fluorescent office lights. It had become only a glaring reminder of the mental, emotion and physical toll the past few months had been on her.

She lay in bed that night beside her husband and he whispered “are you happy?” She hated to admit her own perceived failure, but she had to admit she didn’t feel the extra money and prestigious position was worth what she had to sacrifice for it. She knew what she had to do and suddenly couldn’t wait to go into work the next morning. She knew her old desk remained empty. Tomorrow afternoon she would surprise Sarah and be there after school to pick her up. As she drifted off to sleep, she thanked God for opening her eyes to the gifts He had already placed in front of her and she couldn’t wait to start making up for lost time with her family tomorrow.

“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/01/08
Very good writing. One thing you can do to help make it read more smoothly is to separate your dialogue by paragraphs. Go read some masters or advanced and see how others do it. I really liked this -- right on topic!
Jan Ackerson 02/02/08
Good job of showing us the contrast of her office and her home--I like this story.
Sara Harricharan 02/05/08
I'm so happy she made a decision for real happiness! I was with her all the way with wondering whether the position was worth what it was making her miss out on. Her family.
This is really good! Thanks for sharing! ^_^